DETROIT — On Tuesday, October 18, St. John Church of Southfield hosted Dr. Stephen Smith of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. Smith is the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education; he visited the St. John Church and the adjacent Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum.
Smith, accompanied by Susie Hovsepian (of the Beatrice and Remont Paul Foundation) and local Armenian community leaders, first toured the Manoogian Museum, led by director Lucy Ardash, who explained in great detail the meaning of all of the artifacts.
Parish pastor Very Rev. Aren Jebejian gave Smith a tour of the church’s sanctuary, pointing out the painting of the Armenian Church’s newest saints, the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the relics of the Martyrs of Der Zor.
Jebejian, Smith and parishioners later discussed how Armenians and the Shoah Foundation could further collaborate. Smith detailed his experience when he visited Armenia last year on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. He was pleased to hear about the parish engaging with the Holocaust Memorial Center of Farmington Hills, on programs planned for 2017.
The USC Shoah Foundation/the Institute for Visual History and Education was established by film director Steven Spielberg in 1994, to record video testimonies of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust. The organization relocated to USC in 2006 and expanded its Visual History Archive of genocide testimony accounts to include other atrocities, including the Armenian Genocide.